Friday, 4 May 2012

The Power of Legumes

Legumes offer a lot of nutritional benefits


raffic to my posts about nutrition has been really good. I want to thank you for your interest. I know that good nutrition is important to you, especially if you’re training in the martial arts.

This post touches on legumes. Typical legumes are -

Beans:  Black, kidney, lima, white, pinto, garbanzo (chickpeas), soy beans, etc.
Peas: Yellow and green split peas
Lentils: Yellow, red and green

East Indian cooking contains a wide variety of legumes


I’d like to list all the benefits of making legumes an important part of your nutrition. Let’ start with –

SOURCE OF PROTEIN - on average, legumes contain twice as much protein as cereals. Cereals, however, contain amino acids important for the body’s use of protein. Therefore, an excellent diet is a combination of legumes and cereals. This is especially important if you want to maintain or improve protein levels while lowering your intake of red meats.

LOW FAT - the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in legumes (with the exception of peanuts and soybeans) help lower total cholesterol and harmful LDL cholesterol levels.

Dahlpuri: flat bread containing seasoned lentils


LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX - Legumes are rich in carbs which metabolize into glucose at a slow, steady rate. Foods low on the GI index do not produce sudden sugar spikes which place a strain on people with diabetes.

HIGH SOLUBLE AND INSOLUBLE DIETARY FIBRE - Soluble fibre slows the absorption of glucose, reduces cholesterol levels and decreases the chance of heart disease. Insoluble fibre helps prevent digestive problems, helps in weight management. It may also reduce the chance of colon and rectal cancers, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

PHYTOESTROGENS - Legumes contain phytoestrogens which may help prevent breast and prostate cancers.

Chinese lentil and noodle salad


RICH IN MINERALS - Legumes contain plenty of iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. They also contain important trace minerals such as copper, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc. They’re also a good source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamine, niacin and folate. Folate is important in the early stages of pregnancy, reduces the risk of heart disease and may help prevent certain cancers.

GLUTEN FREE - Coeliac disease is caused by an inability to digest gluten and can result in intestinal problems, unwanted weight loss or failure to gain desired weight, and poor absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. This can lead to medical conditions such as anemia and osteoporosis.

For work, play, training or just feeling good…what we put into our bodies makes a huge difference. Please take the time to set up a healthy diet that works for you!

I’ll soon post an article on pre-workout nutrition, about the energy you need to get you through a training session.


  1. Dahl is one of my favorite dishes. It works as a great lunch and helps sustain my energy throughout the day. I'm looking forward to reading your pre-workout suggestions!
    Cathy Falcone

  2. Hi Cathy,

    Thanks for the comment. I also find that a hot bowl of dahl works well for those cold winter days!


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.